Eye twitching, also known as blepharospasm or myokymia, is an involuntary blinking or twitching of the eyelid. Eye twitching is pretty common and usually come and go. It can last from a few days, to a few weeks, and even up to a few months. If you’ve ever experienced an eye twitch, then you know how annoying it is. It can cause some anxiety when you wonder what’s causing the twitching. You start to worry if something serious may be wrong with you. Luckily, most eye twitching is not a sign of a serious condition, but it could be a clue from your body to take a little better care of yourself. The most likely reasons for a twitching eye are:
- Sensitivity to or overconsumption of caffeine or alcohol
- Eye strain
- Eye irritation
- Poor nutrition
- Brain or nerve disorder
Benign Eye Twitches
An uncontrollable twitching in your eye or eyelid is actually a common problem. It can often be caused by stress, exhaustion, or eyestrain brought on from staring at screens too long. Modern lifestyles leaves most people struggling with one or more of these nuisances, which are the top causes of these small muscle contractions.
If you experience sudden onset of eye spasms, first check for eye irritation. Blepharitis, an inflammation of the lids, dry eye, ocular allergies and light sensitivity can cause eye twitching. Then, ask yourself these questions. Has something happened recently that has put more strain on my life than usual? Have I been dealing with a long-term problem that is weighing me down? Have I been getting enough sleep every night? Am I sleeping well? Did I physically exert myself more than usual? Do I spend too many hours a day on devices with screens?
If none of these seem to be the reason behind your twitch, or you’ve addressed these issues and you continue to experience eye spasms, then you could be experiencing a nutritional deficit, such as magnesium deficiency. This imbalance is easy to fix, since many foods contain magnesium. You can have oatmeal for breakfast, almonds for a snack, and fresh spinach with lunch.
Don’t forget to look at your habits. That’s right, I’m talking to you over there drinking the Venti latté with an extra espresso shot. You know how too much caffeine can make your hands jittery? Well, it can do the same to your eyes. Drinking too much alcohol can also to involuntary eye muscle movements.
Some people find relief from eye twitching with holistic health treatments, such as adjusting their diet to provide better nutrition or receiving acupuncture treatments to target the affected nerves and muscles. Some even find relief by removing stress from their daily life and getting more rest. For severe chronic cases, the condition can be treated with Botox injections or myectomy (a surgery that partially removes nerves and muscles in the eyelids).
When to See the Doctor
If the twitch becomes chronic, even if no other symptoms are present, schedule an appointment with your optometrist to check for blepharitis or pink eye, which can be serious if left untreated. Other eye conditions, or even brain and nervous system disorders, can cause twitching and eye problems. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor if the spasms are occurring in tandem with one of these other symptoms:
- A red or swollen eye
- Eye discharge
- An eyelid that fully closes with each twitch
- Twitching that lasts for more than two weeks
- Twitching that spreads to other areas of your face
- More Serious Reasons for a Twitching Eye
If twitching is the only symptom you have, you can most likely rest assured that it is related to one of the causes above. This means you just need to relax, maybe put a warm cloth over your eyes, and address any underlying conditions like allergies.
Occasionally, however, eye spasms can be a sign of something more serious. When this is the case, you will have other signs indicating something is wrong. If your eye twitches are accompanied by additional symptoms, you should see your doctor for an examination. Signs that your eye twitching could be linked to a more serious condition include:
Other Involuntary Movements or Verbal Tics — When your eye spasms are only one of several involuntary bodily movements or reactions, you could be suffering from Tourette’s syndrome.
Lack of Strength in Other Facial Muscles — A twitching eye that develops along with drooping of one side of the face could be a sign of Bell’s palsy. However, Bell’s palsy does not always involve eye twitching.
Difficulties with Various Muscle Groups — If your symptoms are varied and occur in multiple body regions, you may want to be evaluated for Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms can include trembling limbs, stiff muscles, difficulty balancing, and trouble speaking.
Other Unexpected Muscle Spasms — Many symptoms for these more serious conditions sound similar to each other. Another possible culprit behind muscle spasms is dystonia. The affected body part can twist into unusual contortions.
Neck Spasms — A condition that results in random neck spasms is cervical dystonia. If you suffer from this disorder, your head may twist involuntarily into quite uncomfortable positions.
Most of these more serious issues are less common than a typical benign twitching problem.
So, as the doctor in this video recommends, don’t panic when your eye starts to twitch. Stay calm and think about what may have brought on the twitching. Regardless of what particular cause is behind your nagging eye twitch, stress, lack of sleep, and eye strain all exacerbate this problem. Taking care of your health, in general, is the first step towards alleviating the symptoms of muscle spasms in your eyelid.
Worrying about unwanted eye movements will likely make the problem worse. The truth is that those maddening involuntary twitching can’t even be seen by most people. So, go out and have a good time! No one will probably even notice that you’re having eye issues, and enjoying yourself will help you relax and forget about the twitch.
Do you suffer from Eye Twitching? What causes it for you? Share your comments below.